Girls JV water polo splits into two teams

By Sonja Hutson

In years past, Tam High has had two girls water polo teams: Varsity and JV. However, with an unusually high number of talented players this year,JV water polo coach Katie Schlueter is trying something new: two JV girls teams. Previously, there has only been one JV team because “those were the numbers we had,” said Schlueter, “This year, we have 53 girls for varsity and JV, which in my opinion is awesome.”

After tryouts and the selection of the varsity team, 31 girls remained on the JV squad. According to Schlueter, a large team has 18 to 20 players, so 31 was far too many.

Now, there is a “true JV squad” with more experienced players and a “freshman Squad” consisting of freshmen and new players, both of which Schlueter coaches. Depending on performance, some may move up to the JV squad if improve, just as there has always been the opportunity to move from JV to Varsity.

Schlueter hopes this new arrangement will capitalize on the players’ skill levels as well as increase their playing time. According to Schlueter, Redwood and Marin Catholic are considering a similar system, so when Tam plays those schools, both JV teams may have a game, resulting in more playing time for the players. When playing against schools with only one team, the two squads will alternate games.

“The good thing is that…we get more playing time in the games we do get to play, but the games are split between the two teams so we don’t get to play in as many games as we could if if there was just one team,” said Freshman Grace Hansen. “Also, the practice schedule is all messed up so it’s hard to plan stuff outside of practice like doctor’s appointments. It’s hard to have other stuff outside water polo and school.”

“At first, a lot of people were a little unsure about the new practice and game times, but I think now we all trust that our coach knows what’s best for us. Splitting JV into two will help both teams get more attention and improve,” said JV captain sophomore Amanda Faubel.

Giving “the girls the attention and focus they deserve” is important to Schlueter, who thinks that small practices will achieve this as well as improve the players’ skills. “I think it will make us a stronger team, not only this year, but in the future,” she said.